Pancake Day is the perfect opportunity to gather some friends together, whizz up some pancakes and have all sorts of fun experimenting with a whole host of delicious ingredients to adorn each one. Anything from the traditional lemon and sugar, to healthy fresh fruit and natural yoghurt and even the more elaborate S’mores style pancakes topped with melted chocolate, peanut putter and mini marshmallows. Yum.
Pancakes can also be easily tailored to suit all kinds of dietary intolerances and choices as they are really just a combination of flour, milk and a raising agent. Most standard crepe recipes, like the one below, take the form of plain flour, cow’s milk and eggs, but all sorts of tweaks still produce tasty pancakes, as long as the ratios of flour, milk and raising agent stay the same. I personally prefer to use ’00’ grade plain flour, semi-skimmed milk and medium eggs, as I find that combination makes a lovely, smooth pancake batter.
For gluten free pancakes, the plain flour can easily just be switched to gluten free plain flour with little difference to the resulting pancake.
For vegan pancakes, the eggs can simply be replaced at a ratio of one flax egg (1 tbsp of milled flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp of hot water) to one chicken egg. Milled flaxseed is now widely available from most large supermarkets or health food shops and is an easy substitute for eggs in a lot of vegan baking. The milk can also be replaced with your preferred milk (almond, soy, oat etc).
This recipe (below) makes 4 large pancakes (which is plenty for one person). If you are feeding the masses, then simply multiply the recipe, the method is the same.
4oz plain flour
Place into a bowl the flour and add the egg and some of the milk. Begin to mix with a whisk (you can use a mixer if you have one but start slowly so as not to decorate your kitchen in flour!) and continue until all the lumps are whisked out. This should result in a thick, smooth paste. Gradually add in more milk, mixing between each addition, until you have a batter the consistency of a good smoothie.
Place your frying pan onto a high heat. The hardest bit is now to wait until the frying pan so that it is nice and hot, but it is worth the wait as if you don’t, your first pancake will be limp and clammy.
Once your pan is hot, drizzle in some oil, swill it around the pan and then pour off any excess into a bowl. The oil is there to make sure the pancake doesn’t stick, but it needs to be the barest coating.
I find a ladle the best at spooning the mixture into the pan but if you have a jug then that works just as well. Ladle or pour the mixture into the pan and swill it around until you have a thin coating over the entire base of the frying pan. As it cooks, you should see the colour of the pancake changing. When the whole pancake has changed colour, ease a spatula underneath to loosen and either flip over with the spatula or obviously you can ‘flip’ the pancake into the air.
Cook the other side of the pancake just enough to brown and tip out onto a plate.
Pancakes are best eaten hot from the pan but if that isn’t possible, then stack the pancakes on top of each other and they will collectively stay warm until you have finished cooking the last one.